Zabaleta slams referee Dean on Twitter for red card versus Chelsea; United up in arms with Clattenburg PK call

Zabaleta.jpThat didn’t take long now did it?

Our beloved Premier League officials had been keeping their noses relatively clean and staying out of the headlines…that is until now.

Five weeks into the Premier League season and Manchester City fans are wringing their hands at referee Mike Dean over the season’s first full-blown refereeing controversy.

The controversy occurred in the 66th minute of the Citizens’ clash with Chelsea at the Etihad when Dean reached for his pocket and dismissed defender Pablo Zabaleta with a second yellow card for his heated clash with Blues’ forward Diego Costa.

Zabaleta had come in late and untidy on Chelsea’s leading goal scorer as tempers boiled over. The two opponents had each other in a choke hold so Dean reached for his pocket issuing each a yellow card, leading to Zabaleta’s marching orders.

Many were surprised that both players weren’t ejected for their antics and that Costa somehow emerged unscathed.

“I would like to apologize to everyone for my red card today,” Zabaleta wrote on Twitter. “However after seeing this image I can’t believe that Diego Costa remained on the pitch.”

Zabaleta earned his first yellow for a 32nd minute challenge on Eden Hazard.

That offence began a late second-half flurry of bookings by Dean, where every foul that occurred on the pitch seemed worthy of a card by the card-happy referee.

Dean’s flurry of cards was a surprise since he is normally a hands-off referee, so much so that fans more commonly complain about his leniency towards discipline.

In all Dean issued nine yellow cards and one red during the match which ended in a 1-1 draw after former Blues’ midfielder Frank Lampard stung his former team with his 85th minute equalizer.

Lampard’s goal took the pressure off of Dean and helped curtail much of the controversy surrounding the Zabaleta dismissal.

However many still pointed to the fact that the referee’s full-blown tangent of yellow cards late in the opening half made little sense and set the tone for Zabaleta’s departure.

The decision created a storm of reaction on Twitter.

This weekend’s other matches weren’t without controversy as referee Mark Clattenburg changed the tide of the game in favour of Leicester in a thrilling 5-3 upset victory over Manchester United when he awarded a 62nd minute spot kick. Clattenburg ruled that Manchester United midfielder Rafael had fouled  Jamie Vardy in the penalty area but the Leicester forward appeared to fall to the ground all too easily on the play. To make matters worse Clattenburg had ignored a foul by Vardy on Rafael, which led many including former referee Graham Poll to criticize Clattenburg`s call.

United could also feel hard done by after Chris Foy’s Week 3 decision to deny forward Ashely Young two legitimate penalty-kick appeals in a 1-1 draw versus Sunderland.

Last season it took an extra week for the first refereeing controversy to develop. It was again Dean who took the lead for his red card to former Blues’ striker Fernando Torres in their 1-1 tie with Spurs on September 28th.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho blasted Dean for that decision stating he had changed the outcome of the match with his illogical decision.

 

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